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A better night’s sleep is a result of your healthy lifestyle. The food you consume, your dietary choices, how much you exercise and how you destress yourself have enormous influence on your sleeping patterns.
Most people have experienced how the type of food, its quantity and the time when its consumed affects your alertness and energy (or lack of thereof). A good gut health leads to a better sleep and you should put this on the top of your order when you are trying ensure a good recovery for a fresh start of the day.
A good diet restores nutritional shortfalls in your body and provides your brain with required “chemical power” that it needs.
For example, data shows eating less fibre, more saturated fat and more sugar throughout the day is lined with lighter less restorative sleep! Similarly, food (and drinks) that triggers production of adrenaline in your bloodstream will block production of chemicals in your brain that tell your body to sleep.
Let’s start with what NOT to consume before sleeping if you want a good night sleep! Here are some examples:
Alcohol. While a glass of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) helps your brain to relax (and even make you feel drowsy), excessive drinking has detrimental effect on the quality of sleep. For example, too much alcohol sends you to deep sleep in the early part of your night and your brain then pulls you to lighter sleep stages (REM Sleep) for the rest of the night.
Heavy (Fatty/Spicy) Food. Too much spicy and/or fatty foods are not so kind to your stomach. So almost always try to avoid a big meal that is loaded with too much fat or spices. Instead, a small meal about at least 2 hours before sleeping and a small snack can help you sleep better.
Sugar. Cut back on your sugar, particularly added sugars. High sugar in your meals pikes up blood sugar levels which directly influence your energy levels throughout the day. Avoid sugary, starchy and process foods at all times.
Caffeine. Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon or evening because caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for up to six hours after you consume it. So manage your caffeine intake wisely. Also, be mindful about ‘hidden’ sources of caffeine – e.g. chocolate, cola and tea. As a rule of thumb, you may consider avoiding caffeine from your diet 4 to 6 hours before sleep-time.
In addition to exercising (which is regarded as a key pillar for a good health), good diet and nutritions have a direct effect on virtually all aspects of our health. Eating a healthy and balanced diet has been shown to reduce the risk of various health conditions – e.g. heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, mental health, etc.
Sleep, on the other hand, is a complicated process driven by a number of things including mental health, light exposure and underlying physical issues. So what foods can help you sleep better? We are certainly not going to be able to go through everything that will fall on this list, but we are highlighting a few:
Antioxidants. Oxidative stress leads to a number of age-related illnesses, including insomnia. Eating foods that contain potassium, magnesium, folate have a positive effect on sound sleep patterns. For example, Kiwifruit possesses numerous vitamins and minerals – including vitamin C, E, potassium, and folate. In a study, people who ate two kiwis one hour before bedtime found that they fell asleep faster, slept more and had better sleep quality.
Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods, fruits including dairy and turkey. For example, drinking tart cherry juice can modestly improve sleep in people with insomnia. In one study, people who drank two one-cup servings of tart cherry juice per day were found to have more total sleep time and higher sleep efficiency.
Milk. Drinking a glass of warm milk about 30 mins before bedtime reduces your sleep interruptions. Milk contains melatonin some milk products are melatonin-enriched. When cows are milked at night, their milk has more melatonin and this milk provides a natural source of the sleep-producing hormone.
Considering above, It’s natural that people who are in desperate need of a good night’s sleep should focus on food choices they make.
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